October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

If seeing is not only believing but learning as well, your dreamsof playing the slickest guitar licks or sweetest piano chords willcome true only if you study the masters in action. That’s theteaching philosophy of producer Happy Traum’s Homespun Tapes(800-33TAPES, $49.95 each), which specialize in music how-to videosfeaturing high-profile performers who share the best chops from theiraxes. For instance, the current leader of The Band mixes performance,back-porch reminiscence, and instruction in Levon Helm on Drums andDrumming (1992). From his rudimentary drum kit to his sparse, solidplaying style, Helm-one of rock’s first timekeepers-proves he’s aperfect choice for this primer. He rim-shots and high-hats his waysolo through numbers like ”Willie and the Hand Jive” and ”Short FatFannie,” then joins current Band mates for complete versions of thesongs.Jay Ungar, Grammy-winning composer for PBS’ The Civil War, offersA Fiddler’s Guide to Waltzes, Airs and Haunting Melodies (1993). Heuntangles the fingering patterns of square-dance classics like ”TheTennessee Waltz” and ”Give Me Your Hand” so that even the most unfitof fiddlers can play along.On Blues By the Book (1993), the wry Roy Book Binder goessplit-screen to explain guitar techniques like string-snapping andthe ”G lick,” an old-time blues trademark (”It still tickles me everytime I do it,” says the Book).Ever wonder how those hotel-lobby pianists can wing it for hourswithout sheet music? On Jazz Piano Standards (1993), session pianistAndy LaVerne demonstrates how chord changes and voicings can beused to create countless variations on classics like ”Night and Day”and ”My Romance.” But the real star of this tape is the Disklavier, ahigh-tech player piano that replays each song in slo-mo, depressingthe keys as LaVerne explains what he did. Levon Helm: A A Fiddler’sGuide: A+ Blues by the Book: B+ Jazz Piano Standards: B+

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